Friday, September 19, 2014


Stretch Brisbane
Isn't it amazing how 'comfortable' our pets can get?  This couch was a smaller loveseat we had at the time and every time he got on there, he just stretched out as long as he could.  I swear Brisbane seems like he's three feet long.  Hmm, maybe we should measure him sometime.  

More later today...
We have been inundated with rain the last few days.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Berry Barn project, image courtesy of Kylee Baumle over at OUR LITTLE ACRE
Recently, I was blog hopping, as I like to do, and was over at Our Little Acre (link above) and I found the neatest thing when I was there.  Kylee (gardener extraordinaire) and her husband came up with a novel, and beautiful, solution to keeping their berries from being eaten by birds, rabbits and whatever else might be lurking about in the yard, waiting for a sweet snack.

Her beautiful property has some raspberries, blackberries and even blueberries.  Like many of us who have the best hopes for our berries, she fought the good fight against the furry and feathered marauders.  What they came up with was to build a frame structure of sorts around their berry beds and then cover it in chicken wire.  Think of a greenhouse, only without the glass/plastic panels...genius if you ask me!  She calls it "The Berry Barn".  Of course, we didn't need one more project to put on the list but hey, this one is almost too cool not to have on our list.  I'm not sure I could get ours to look as good as theirs, but it looks possible, someday anyway.  

Click either the photo itself, or the hyperlink above, to go to directly to the page on her blog that shows more of the photos of the construction process.

I immediately wrote to her and asked if she would allow me to share her project and she agreed.  Thank you Kylee, you've definitely inspired us!

Be Inspired!

© September 2014
by 1st Man at

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Homemade Wedge Salad
Have you ever had a "Wedge Salad"?  

It's just as the name implies, a wedge of iceberg lettuce, some tomatoes and blue cheese dressing with bacon bits.  We pretty much do it the same way and it's so easy but so good.


1 head of iceberg lettuce
Bacon bits
Blue cheese dressing

Slice a head of iceberg lettuce into wedges by cutting it in half and then each in half again.  Put sliced tomatoes around the lettuce, we like to use sliced cherry tomatoes (these are a mix of heirloom varieties).  Pour some blue cheese dressing over the the wedge and tomatoes, sprinkle on some bacon bits (we usually keep fresh bacon bits in the fridge) and lastly we add fresh blue cheese crumbles as an extra topping.

Wedge Salad Ingredients
That's it, couldn't be much simpler.  
We often have this for dinner...if we make it substantial enough, LOL.

© September 2014
by 1st Man at

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


It was that time of year recently...


Hatch chiles
The above picture is from a couple of years ago when we roasted some in the oven.  This is what they look like before roasting.  You can click HERE for all that excitement. 

Fire roasted Hatch chiles
This year, we opted to go a bit easier.  They sell them already roasted, and better yet, they are fire roasted (we did ours in the oven).  It was certainly more time saving.  We probably paid a bit more but it was worth it.

The first thing we I did was get the skins off.  When they are roasted, the skins form an almost plastic like coating.  It's hard to describe but the good thing is running them under some water and rubbing, they just slip right off.

We dried them off and separated them into roughly equal packages.  We also decided to split them open and flatten them out.  We don't use them stuffed, we use them just chopped up as an additional ingredient in cooking so this makes it easier to add them later.

Vacuum sealed Hatch chiles
Lastly, we used our vacuum sealer to put them into flat packages and popped them in the freezer.  We did four batches like this so we ended up with twelve bags.  Since Hatch chiles are pretty much only available once a year, I guess we can only use one a month until they come around next season!
Anyone have any good uses for Hatch Chiles?

© September 2014
by 1st Man at

Monday, September 15, 2014


Our first aid supplies at the farm had been woefully inadequate until I found this Curad Complete First Aid Kit on sale at a local store.  It housed the standard assortment of bandages and such so that was good.  Not that we're accident prone of course but it's always nice to have one handy and since our bathroom does not have a medicine cabinet, this made sense.  But we were always moving it somewhere and then not remembering where it was if we needed it.

Flash forward to recently when I found this first aid storage box.  It is metal, painted red and best of all, it mounts on the wall.  I actually saw it first on Williams Sonoma's website but then I found it at a store here in town where it was much less expensive.  Of course this is a local mom and pop store so I can't direct you there but, as with most everything it seems, it's available on Amazon.

Click here Kikkerland Red First Aid Box if you are so inclined to check it out.
Red metal wall mounted first aid box
First, we found the perfect spot to mount it.  It's in the mudroom, right as you come in the back door and right next to the utility sink.  Perfect for running inside with a wound and cleaning up at the sink.

Red metal First Aid kit, loaded
Everything from the Curad kit fit inside nicely, in addition to a few extras that we have accumulated.  Now make no mistake, this isn't going to hold more than enough to handle small cuts, scrapes and splinters.  But still, it's nice to have nearby and in a location so we'll always know just where to go.

And, how's this for irony (or self fulfilling prophecy?).  As I was putting up the tools, I stuck my hand in the case and cut the side of my thumb.  Nothing bad but hey, I was standing right there so I washed it, put on some anti-bacterial ointment and wrapped it up in a bandaid.  It's first use!  Mission accomplished!  

This does make us realize though that this doesn't hold enough supplies we might need for an extended time.  Say for example we were out there for a longer period due to a natural or man made disaster, we'd like to be prepared. 

So our question is, what do you all keep in your emergency preparedness first aid kit?  We'll find a larger container that we can store under the bed or in a closet to hold more supplies...more "Prepping in Plain Sight" like we've done before.  We just want to make sure we have a good combination of supplies.

What would YOU put in YOUR first aid kit?

© September 2014
by 1st Man at

Sunday, September 14, 2014


So, one of our local garden centers is having it's annual 70% off everything sale.  Yay!  We headed off to look for some ornamental trees (still need a few Vitex/Texas Lilac for the driveway).  We'd also like to get a plum tree and one more peach and one more pear.  

We also want to try citrus again so as we were roaming around, we went to the citrus section.  These tags were on every single citrus tree, lemon, lime, orange, didn't matter, it was on all of them:

In all the years I've been venturing out to garden centers and nurseries, I've never seen this on any plant.  Very odd.  Needless to say, since our farm is outside of Harris County, we couldn't buy any citrus.  

When we got back home, I had to look it up and see what it was all about.  I found THIS ARTICLE.  There is a disease called Citrus Greening that is going on.  In July, they apparently banned ALL citrus sales to keep it from spreading (glad we weren't citrus hunting in June).  Now they are for sale again but you can't leave the county with them.

They even want's people to 'report' suspicious plants at the website below:
I don't think we will take the chance on getting any this season.  We want a lemon, a lime, an orange and a grapefruit but since they are so sensitive to freezes, I think we'll get them in the Spring after danger of frost and hopefully after this has passed.  We'll just check out next year's crop when they get shipped to the nurseries.

On the upside, we did get some more ornamental plants/bushes to add 'color' to the farm, more on that in another post.

Hope you had a great weekend!


"Scrap!" vintage WWII poster, image courtesy of NYPublic Library
Now this is quite the forearm.  Here is a poster image that dates from WWII and urges people to save and recycle their scrap metal.  Scrap metal was a frequent theme in these posters and in a way, they were the precursor of modern reduce/reuse/recycle initiatives.

Of course, the giant arm hovering over the family farmstead might be considered somewhat disconcerting, LOL!  

It's finally cooling down here, but overcast and a bit wet today but hey, we're OK with the cooler weather.  It's about time!  More later.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


At least for Saturday...

Above was the radar image for the farm early this morning before heading out.

This is the farm now.
2nd Man had to stay in town and work.

And this is the whole general area around this part of Texas.  Maybe Sunday will be a better day for outside working.  At least I won't have to water!

I'm sure I can find SOMETHING to do...there is always something to do!
Hope your weekend is off to a better start!

Friday, September 12, 2014


Sydney cat, in an MRE box
In support of National Preparedness Month, on this Feline Friday, I thought this would be a good one to post.  This is a picture taken during our Hurricane Ike adventure that I blogged about HERE, earlier this week.

We were given a case of MRE's (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) by FEMA.  We took the packages out and put them in the kitchen.  Of course, what cat in the world can resist an empty box???  Certainly not this one!  This is Sydney, who promptly hopped right in and made himself at home.  He enjoyed sitting in front of the open door, with two baby gates (one on top of the other) so that a breeze could come into the hot house.  He would duck down in the box when something would startle him outside.  He loved it.  

More later!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Here is a new dish we cooked and we really enjoyed it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly grease the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish (we use the butter wrapper)
1 stick of butter, melted (we didn't say it was healthy!)
2 cups stuffing mix (without the seasoning)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 slices of deli ham
6 slices of Swiss cheese
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (if the breasts are big we use 2 cans)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sherry (optional but delicious)

Place the breasts in the baking dish and sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste.

Next, place a slice of ham on top of each breast.

On top of the chicken and ham, lay a slice of Swiss cheese.

Mix the cream of chicken soup with the milk and, if using it, the sherry.  Pour over the top.

Lastly, mix the melted butter with the stuffing mix and the sprinkle on top of the chicken mixture.  Cover with aluminum foil and place in preheated 350 degree oven.
Bake for 45 minutes, covered...

...then remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more or until the chicken is fully cooked and the topping is golden and browned.  

Serve and enjoy!

© September 2014
by 1st Man at